California Governor Gavin Newsom recently allowed parole for a man who served four decades in prison for murdering a developmentally disabled man. According to a report published by WBAY, the Democrat governor took no objection to the state parole board’s decision to grant parole to David Weidert.
Weidert was convicted for the murder of 20-year-old Fresno-area resident Michael Morganti in 1980 to cover up a $500 burglary. Weidert was 17 at the time of committing the murder. Morganti was killed because he has spoken to law enforcement agencies about the crimes committed by Weidert and his accomplices.
Reportedly, Weidert induced Morganti to travel with him in a vehicle after which he took him to a secluded place and forced Morganti to dig his own grave. Weidert and his accomplice then thrashed Morganti with a shovel and a baseball bat. They also stabbed him with a knife and strangulated him with a telephone wire. Morganti was then buried alive and died due to suffocation.
Interestingly, Newsom had blocked Weidert’s parole request last year, stating then that he “currently poses an unreasonable danger to society if released from prison at this time”. In 2016 and 2018, the then Governor Jerry Brown had similarly turned down the parole board’s release recommendations for Weidaert.
However, Newsom surprisingly accepted the findings of the parole board this year, which said that the applicant did not pose a current unreasonable risk to public safety.
The grant of parole to Weidert had Morganti’s sister, Vikki Van Duyne, stunned. Duyne, who had attended 11 parole hearings over the years to oppose Weidert’s release, was shocked to find that the California Governor agreed to release a convicted murderer into public.
“I didn’t think the governor would think that things had changed in 13 months from the time when he said no last time because I didn’t see anything change,” she said. Duyne remains committed to her belief that Weidert still poses a threat to society.
The decision to grant parole is a convicted murderer drew criticism from several quarters, with Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp accusing the governor of pandering to “people who want to end incarceration”.
Governor Gavin Newsom is also facing a campaign to recall him over his disastrous handling of the pandemic. The recall election is set to take place on September 13.